Sir Sidney Alexander was a local GP and the longest-serving Mayor of Faversham. His mayoralty, from 1910-1920, included the First World War. He attended the Coronation of King George V in 1911 as Faversham Baron of the Cinque Ports.
He was also a pioneer in varicose vein surgery! Although he also worked in London, his main GP practice was at Gatefield House, now the Alexander Centre, where he lived until his death in 1943.
The Alexander Centre was built in the 1860s as Gatefield House, a private house for Henry Barnes, who made his fortune as a brickmaker. Later, it became the residence of the celebrated doctor, Sir Sidney Alexander, who was Faversham’s longest-serving Mayor. After Sir Sidney’s death in 1943, it was bought by Faversham Borough Council for use as Municipal Offices. Faversham’s crest ‘since I wield arms for the King, I am a free port’ is built into the portico, as evidence of Faversham’s Cinque Port status.
When Faversham Parish Council was incorporated into Swale Borough Council, the council continued to own and run the building until it was handed over to The Alexander Centre CIC, an independent, autonomous, not-for-profit organisation, in a government asset transfer. The CIC is an independent autonomous Community Interest Company. Swale Borough Council continues to maintain one office in the building, to support the community.
" We've been running regular Book Fairs here, for more than 15 years. It's an outstanding venue, with lovely rooms, a cafe and a bar. The staff are always welcoming and most helpful. We organize fairs around most of the South-East, but this is easily the best venue. "